The most famous street in the center of Copenhagen is Strøget – it actually isn’t just one street but a collection of streets which combined together connect the two main squares in Copenhagen. On one end you have Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn on the other end of the square in the opposite end of Strøget you find Rådhuspladsen – or City Hall Square which is located right next to Tivoli amusement park.
The streets had always been very busy but with the number of cars starting rise sharply during the 1950s the traffic at the streets had become very congested and the layout of these old city streets meant there was no way to expand the street with an extra lane in each direction. It was time to do something radical with the street where the traffic were generally moving in slower than it was possible to walk along the street.
After the Second World War the towns in Germany had to be rebuilt – and some of these had included some smaller pedestrian areas in the center. This became the inspiration for Copenhagen which as the first major city decided to completely close down a main street in the center from road traffic. In 1962 the streets between Kongens Nytorv and Rådhuspladsen was temporarily closed for traffic as an experiment. The experiment went well and after a couple of years it was decided to make the closure of the street permanent. The initial skepticism amongst the shop owners of their business prospect when people couldn’t drive to the street anymore had been proven wrong shopping very booming on Strøget.
The formation of the pedestrian street in the center was the beginning of the transformation of Copenhagen – from now the city was increasingly focused towards bike and pedestrian travel. And today a lot more people travel to the city center by bike than by car. The number of pedestrian streets in the center has gradually been expanded and today they dominate the medieval city center of Copenhagen called Indre By – or inner city.
Today the street is one of the main draws from tourist who go on a shopping spree – it is the home to the top branded shops in Copenhagen in addition to the cheaper shops. From spring to autumn the street is usually very busy with a lot of tourist but currently it looks like nothing I have seen before with only a few people walking down the street. It is a fair walk of 1.1 kilometers from end to end and you will be able to break the walk with a little lunch or dinner either on the street or one of the many side streets which generally offer better food than the main street. On the middle of your walk you will pass Gammel Torv and Nytorv which used to be the main squares of Copenhagen before they were replaced by first Kongens Nytorv and then 300 years later also Rådhuspladsen.